Saturday, February 25, 2006

Just Like Old Times...

I dated my husband today. Just like old times, sans child and scheduling, we had a day to ourselves to do as we pleased. Daniel has gone to visit Keith's folks for the week and, on the way back from Alabama, Keith and I scoured antique shops, ate lunch, talked, listened to music, spent a couple hours in the bookstore, sat down for coffee at a little two-person table at Starbucks and talked, saw a movie ("Walk the Line"--it's great, by the way!), ate dinner and talked some more. Although it feels strange to not have Daniel here, it was a real treat to spend a day alone together!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Long Time, No Blog

Apologies to my millions of blogfans out there who have written and called demanding that I blog immediately. OK, so maybe no one has mentioned it, but I have missed jotting down my daily thoughts. Unfortunately, I have been under the weather with a delicious-sounding illness: an intestinal virus. Doesn't that have such a nice sound to it? Although it has been an effective weight loss tool (6 pounds so far), I wouldn't recommend it at all.

Now that I am back in the land of the living, I thought I'd comment on...well, my blessings. I told Keith that I can't imagine what people who go for months without food and water must experience in terms of pain and discomfort. I know I touched on that in an earlier blog about the story on Oprah. But, seriously...I was mildly dehydrated for 24 hours due to this virus and wasn't able to eat or drink anything without dire consequences (I'll spare you any further details). My legs hurt terribly, I was weak and my stomach felt as if someone were twisting it in their fist as hard as they could. I finally was able to keep something down this morning and feel 100% better. How do malnourished/starving people go on like this for most, if not all, of their lives?

Just makes me grateful once again for my health and for the blessings that we have been given. Life isn't always pretty, but at least I have the comfort of knowing it can always get better.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Little Domestic Pleasures

When did I officially move into true, not-one-ounce-of-coolness-left, adulthood? When I realized that Keith and I were thrilled to be able to spend our Friday evening and Saturday morning organizing our utility room and hall closet! The excitement was palpable as we finished installing new shelving in the utility room and giddily re-stocked said shelves with laundry detergent, paper towels and toilet paper. Yes, I realize that my coolness-quotient just hit an all-time low, butI don't care...I'm organized!

The same goes for the hall closet. Before this morning, it was a mound of coats, hats, gloves, board games, wreaths and various picture frames and an occasional card searching for its deck (not to mention Halloween candy and a handful of matchbox cars). Now, it is a true coat closet. Coats hung on hangers (believe it or not!) and a vacuum and some TV trays. Ahhh...the guilty pleasure of spring cleaning in February.

This whole entry may seem more mental illness than domestic pleasure. But, to a control freak with nothing else to do on a cold, rainy Saturday morning, it has been sheer heaven. I think I need to go peek at our accomplishments one more time... :-)

Friday, February 17, 2006

Slow Dance

Life is made up of little nuggets of time--some good, some not-so-good--but, when a happy one rolls around it makes all the not-so-good ones worthwhile. As I've re-read some of my previous entries, I found a few talking about the contentment I have found in my child. Tonight was no exception.

It's 12:15 on Saturday morning and I must say we had a very relaxing, non-eventful Friday evening. Keith was installing some new shelving in the laundry room while I looked up favorite songs of mine on the computer and sang to my heart's content. My son Daniel's love of music nearly equals mine--further proof that I did indeed give birth to him and the whole Russian adoption experience was just a dream!

Well, as I was singing, Daniel disappeared for a moment then reappeared with his little blue blanket, turned every light off in my office and proceeded to climb up in my lap. Thumb tucked in his mouth (his one remaining only-at-night security ritual), he laid his head against my chest and went to sleep. It's hard to explain the feeling of peace that came over me at that moment. Just then, Norah Jones' song "The Long Day Is Over" came on and I found myself standing and slow dancing with this sleeping boy in my arms. His long, lean legs far outstretched the cradle of my arms and his soft blonde hair rested gently underneath my chin.

There, in the dark on a Friday evening, I slow danced with my son. He may not have realized what was happening...but hopefully one day, he'll come across these words and realize how very special those moments were to his mother...and how very much she loves him....

Time Out

Well, Keith and I agree we must be doing a little something right with Daniel. Keith called me this morning and told me about a phone conversation that Daniel overheard him having with a collegue while they were driving to school. During the conversation, Keith used a couple of "taboo" words like "stupid" and "crap"--MILD words when considering the language used by most folks in Keith's industry...but, to a four year old who has been told not to say them, it was cause for correction. Here's how it played out:



"You shouldn't have used those two bad words while you were on the phone."

"Oops, you're right. I sure shouldn't have. I guess I'll need to go into time out when I get to work, huh?"


"OK, I will. I'm sorry for using those words."

"It's OK. Oh, and Daddy? When you put yourself into time out, just remember that I love you. OK?"

Geez, I love that kid.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Under the Big Tent

Well, I stepped through the holy portal of parenting last night as my friend Cindy and I took our sons to the circus. Now, what I remember of my own circus experience as a child was quite different from the spectacle at Philip's Arena last night. Or, perhaps being a child makes it seem much more magical and less like a giant facade.

I know I've been on this "commercialization" kick of late with the whole Valentine's experience, but last night proved something to me.

Yes, there is a certain right of passage in childhood about seeing a three-ring circus. The sights, the sounds, and yes, even the smells, are magical at his age (four). One highlight, of course, is the table after table of circus workers hocking gizmos and trinkets like horse heads containing sno cones and lighted swords with a clown on the handle (which I'll reference momentarily...)
They also had bags of cotton candy with some thin, felt-like hat attached to it.

From the moment we walked in the door, Daniel had begged for cotton candy. And, to tell you the truth, I had a hankering for it myself. So, I walked up to the vendor and asked the price of the cotton candy. "Ten dollars," he replied. "TEN DOLLARS?!," I exclaimed. "Well, you do get this hat that only cost 20 cents to make along with it..." (OK, so I made that part up...but that had to be the rationale behind the price tag) "Well, can I get some cotton candy WITHOUT the hat?" "Nope." He sheepishly grinned knowing he was sending me back to a fate worse than death when I tell my four year old he cannot have any cotton candy.

But, when I got back and explained that it was too expensive and we would have to get some another time, Daniel was fine. No fit. No tantrum. Wow. Now, those of you that know I got these tickets for free might be thinking that $10 for cotton candy wasn't that big a deal in the scheme of things...BUT--it's the principle of it. I had just paid $3.25 for a Coke and $4.00 for a small thing of popcorn (I know, where was my "principle" then?) Well, I had to draw the line somewhere!

Overall, the circus was exciting for them. The seats we were given were in a box suite which, although nice and comfy with a private bathroom, made it a little hard to feel like you were "at the circus." It was more like being a bird--a great vantage point but not as entrancing as being down near the action.

On our way out the door, one last attempt was made to sucker me into spending money. The guy on the sidewalk was selling the once $10 light sword for a bargain $5. Of course, the very tired and sensory-overloaded love of my life says "I want one." "No , have plenty of toys." "But, Momma...I wannnnnt onnnneeee..." "No, baby. We're not going to get one right now. We need to get to our car." (whining ensues) As we get on the packed elevator, a hushed silence falls over us and my child whines rather loudly, "But, Mommy, they're only FIVEEEE DOLLARSSSSSSS..........." It must have been comic relief for the other weary parents as a burst of laughter erupted. That didn't phase Daniel as he boo-hooed all the way to the car. Then I had Cindy take a picture of us with him crying so I could show him how he looked pitching a fit. When I did, this crooked little smile appeared on his mouth and that was the end of it.

I did learn a thing or two about parenting last night. Not that I'm always guilty of it, but children don't need every gadget in the place to have a good time at an event like that. There were kids coming out of there with painted faces, bags of toys, cotton candy in one hand, 20 cent felt hat on their head and they were STILL whining.

My favorite memory will always be the giggles of the boys as they watched the clowns being silly up close during the pre-show. Their unabashed laughter was contagious. That is what the circus is all about. Not light swords or glow-in-dark spinning thingies. It's about the wonder in my child's eyes at something so simple as a clown "tripping" over a ball. Those are the moments that make it all worthwhile...

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Valentine's Day

I was in awe yesterday as I walked past the Valentine's aisle at our local Wal-Mart. Shoppers were packed into the narrow aisle tossing foil-wrapped goodies into their carts alongside giant stuffed bears holding silk roses and banners that said "I Love You Beary Much." The commercialization of holidays like this never ceases to amaze me. What started out as a simple love-filled letter written from prison (see story below) has turned in to one of the biggest money-making holidays of the year.

Call me a hopeless romantic, but I would still prefer to have a handwritten note left on my pillow than a dozen roses. I do love fresh flowers...but they soon wither away while I can hold onto other gestures forever. Call my voice mail and sing me a song...write a note and tuck it into my make-up bag (Keith, are you reading this?) :) or even mail me a card since receiving a piece of personal mail makes my day!

Valentine's Day is about celebrating love, friendship and special relationships. So I guess that whether the gesture is a bouquet of flowers, a 1-lb Hershey's Kiss or simply a note taped to the bathroom mirror, it's nice to be reminded that somebody loves you.

Happy Valentine's Day!

~ Katie

The History of Valentine's Day (from the History Channel)

Every February, across the country, candy, flowers, and gifts are exchanged between loved ones, all in the name of St. Valentine. But who is this mysterious saint and why do we celebrate this holiday? The history of Valentine's Day -- and its patron saint -- is shrouded in mystery. But we do know that February has long been a month of romance. St. Valentine's Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition. So, who was Saint Valentine and how did he become associated with this ancient rite? Today, the Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred.

One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men -- his crop of potential soldiers. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine's actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death. Other stories suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons where they were often beaten and tortured.

According to one legend, Valentine actually sent the first 'valentine' greeting himself. While in prison, it is believed that Valentine fell in love with a young girl -- who may have been his jailor's daughter -- who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter, which he signed 'From your Valentine,' an expression that is still in use today. Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories certainly emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic, and, most importantly, romantic figure. It's no surprise that by the Middle Ages, Valentine was one of the most popular saints in England and France.

Thursday, February 09, 2006


"Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow them." ~Louisa May Alcott


My Mom always kept this quote under the glass on her desk. It's one of my favorites:

“When you come to the edge of all the light you know, and are about to step off into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing one of two things will happen: There will be something solid to stand on, or you will be taught how to fly.” ~ Barbara J. Winter

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

To Blog or Not To Blog....

That is the question...

As I sit here in front of my computer screen, staring into the blank nothingness of cyberspace, I wonder if this blog is simply a high-tech version of talking to myself. It doesn't speak back to me, but the words on the screen are so familiar that it comforts me to go back and read the crazy thoughts I had at one time or another.

I do have one blogfan out there :-) (Hello Carolynn) who encourages me to keep writing and sharing my musings about mundane, ordinary things. Sometimes life tends to run away from me. Days slip by and, without warning, I am turning off my bedside lamp and crawling under my covers at the close of another uneventful day. Other times, like today, I have wondered how one day can last so long. I had three conference calls today, my golden retriever chewed up an advertising project I was working on for a client, and I just generally have the "blahs." Each hour has dragged its feet, slowly meandering by like an elderly blind man with a cane. Tick, tock, tick, tock...the conference calls drag on...tick, tock, tick, tock...I redo the project that I had so painstakingly worked on the night before...tick, tock, tick, tock..afternoon slowly gives way to darkness and the thought of going to bed at 7:00 suddenly appeals to me.

But, of course that doesn't happen. It never happens. Life happens instead. Phone calls, toddler bedtime prayers, email and now my blog responsibilities hold me hostage in the waking world just a little while longer.

I best turn in now. Just a few sacred hours of shut eye separate me from another day. I am suddenly grateful for the minutes, thankful for hours I can spend with my husband and son and blessed to have the prospect of living another day.

Look out tomorrow, here I come!

Monday, February 06, 2006

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Sleet

What is it with my need for out-of-the-ordinary experiences? If bad weather is coming, I want it to be really bad. (but, I'm just chicken enough not to want it to do any real damage--just the threat of it excites me) I want a blizzard like the one in 1993 where we'll be "snowed" in and get to cook food in our fireplace and play outside in a winter wonderland. Today we were forecast to get 2 inches and all we saw was 2 minutes of a beautiful snowfall that melted as it reached the ground.

Now, even though hurricanes and tornados fascinate me, I wouldn't wish that type of destruction on anyone. What we have seen in the wake of Hurricane Katrina is devastation beyond what we ever imagined. That's not the type of bad weather I hope for. I just love dark clouds rolling in, lightning in the distance and the excitement of impending wintery weather. I am also so much like my Mom. She used to get so mad when the weather man would say "well, looks like we dodged the bullet again folks..." I feel the same way. Bring it on, Mother Nature!

Celebrating Four Years

Our son turns four today. We celebrated his birthday at school on Friday and at home with friends and family on Saturday. 50 people packed our home and it was literally crawling with life and laughter. Only once did I feel a little overwhelmed but the feeling passed, allowing me to enjoy the company of those who had come to celebrate Daniel turning four.

Well, today is his actual birthday and we are granting his one go to Chuck E. Cheese. Pizza, games, characters and a seemingly endless supply of tokens. I know he'll have a great time!

Thursday, February 02, 2006


The slow inhale and exhale
Of your little boy breaths
Your heartbeat in synch with mine
The crackle and pop of fresh wood
Burning in the fireplace
The soft twinkle of white holiday lights
Still hung in the ficus tree in the corner
The warmth and security of a fuzzy afghan
Creating for us a toasty respite
From the blustery day outside

At that very moment in time
There were no bills to pay
No conference calls to plan
And no harsh critique of oneself in the mirror
No discussion about money
Or planning for the future

Because the future was asleep on my shoulder
Quietly dreaming about gumballs
Or racecars or driving big trucks
And all was right with the world
As I experienced
Peace, serenity, and comfort
In the innocent embrace
Of my sweet sleeping child….